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Review of:
Wind Chimes 1.01
Kaleidoscope 95
 
by Timothy Hoke, Alamo PC

A few months ago I was reading Bill Machrone in PC Magazine. As usual he was giving his perspective on some aspect of the PC industry. Ever since I met Bill when he presented at Alamo PC several years ago, I've followed his sage advice. 

 So, when he touted Wind Chimes 1.01, I immediately investigated Syntrillium Software's website and downloaded it. Folks, this little shareware program is a relaxing, meditative experience to behold. As I sit in front of my PC typing this review, I am listening to the most beautiful, soothing music you can imagine. Featured are a wide range of musical choices (forty three favorite's if I counted correctly). At present I've chosen Soft Ambiance to welcome me slowly into this new day at 8 AM. So pleasant is it, that I'm afraid I might fall asleep. So now I'll choose something a little more lively. Let's see, how about Gunfight! No, that's too much for early morning. Close my eyes and I'm back in the old west at the OK Corral, or joining forces with Rambo. My son, James will like this later when he gets home from school. 

 Next I'll try Glorious Sunrise. That ought to awaken and cheer me on this overcast, balmy day. Nice, very nice. Of course I could also choose Island Breeze, Rainy Afternoon, Romantic Evening, or many others for my listening pleasure. I get al this musical enjoyment and my CD-ROM is free to do other things. Well, as you can probably tell, I'm hooked. 

 Syntrillium Software has configured 43 different sounds, but knowing their customers might want to create some sounds of their own, they've allowed us to customize those sounds. For example, you can choose the particular MIDI (Musical Instrument Digital Interface) instrument to play each of the favorite sounds they've chosen. For example, the MIDI instrument Syntrillium chose for Garage Band is Overdriven Guitar. I changed it to Trumpet and it is a whole new sound. 

 How does it work? Wind Chimes' MIDI communicates with your sound card's built-in synthesizer to play notes in a musical scale. It employs algorithms designed specifically to simulate the way wind plays the notes on a real set of Wind Chimes. 

A chime icon is installed at the bottom of your screen. By right clicking on the icon, a popup menu displays the last five selections you chose plus other options including the option to quit the program. That's pretty much it. Simple, huh? 

Oh, I should also mention Syntrillium Software's also has a really cool screen saver, Kaleidoscope 95.1. Kaleidoscope, to put it mildly, is a trip! It has become my favorite screen saver. As its name implies, Kaleidoscope turns your display into and endless variation of colors and movements. They dance, spiral and explode all over the screen. Thus, you can save your screen from burn-in while blowing your mind! 

 Kaleidoscope 95.1 features 35 preset kaleidoscope styles, which can be customized with more than 20 user controls. Want to really get wild? Integrate Kaleidoscope with Wind Chimes or plop a music CD into your CD-ROM drive, then sit back, kick your feet up on the desk and behold the most amazing sight. When integrated with music and running simultaneously with it, Kaleidoscope provides screen designs which respond directly to sound. That's right, Kaleidoscope actually responds to music! When the music is quiet and low, Kaleidoscope follows suit with deep colors and graceful movement, while loud and vibrant music yields bright, dancing spirals! Just go to your computer room, turn on the music, turn off the lights and watch the show! 

 Interested? I was and am! To acquire these programs, just go to http://www.syntrillium.com and download them. The install is easy and you can use these programs as long as you like however a reminder screen frequently appears asking you for payment. However, a registration fee of $20 for Wind Chimes or $15 (non-audio) $25 (audio response version) for Kaleidoscope ($39 for both products) will keep you honest and remove the irritating registration reminder from the screen. 

Very highly recommended! 

 Tim pastors Faith Presbyterian Church and is a long-time board member of Alamo PC. Currently he serves as president-elect. Tim, his wife Cheri and children Andrea and James,have lived in San Antonio since 1990.